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Sears says it will phase out PVC

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Sears Holdings announced a new policy to reduce and phase out the use of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) in its packaging and merchandise. The company said it has adopted a policy aimed toward identifying “more sustainable choices.”

In a press release, the company noted that the policy focused on the following factors:

• Identify safer, more sustainable and cost-effective alternatives to PVC and incorporate them into the design and manufacturing process for private label merchandise and packaging.

• Show preference for PVC-free materials.

• Show preference to incorporate the Society of the Plastics Industry labeling system on private label merchandise packaging to make it easier for consumers to incorporate packaging options into their purchase decision.

• Show preference to mark private label merchandise as PVC-free when true.

• Encourage vendors to reduce or eliminate their use of PVC in merchandise and packaging.

Sears Holdings operates more than 3,800 locations, including Sears and Kmart stores, in the United States and Canada.

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New home sales plunge in November

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New home sales fell 9 percent in November to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 647,000 — the lowest annual rate in 12 years — according to a report released Friday by the U.S. Commerce Department.

Economists had forecast November sales at an annual rate of 715,000, which would have represented a 1.8 percent drop. The actual rate of 647,000 was the lowest since 621,000, recorded in April 1995.

Year over year, new home sales were 34.4 percent lower than in November 2006, representing the largest year-to-year decline since January 1991.

New home sales in the Midwest region were particularly weak, falling 27.6 percent to the slowest pace since July 1991. Sales also decreased in the South (6.4 percent) and Northeast (19.3 percent), but rose in the West (4 percent).

In addition, the median price for a new home decreased by 0.4 percent to $239,100. The ratio of new houses for sale to houses sold rose during November to 9.3, from 8.8 in October.

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Lampert Yards receives FSC certification

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Lampert Yards, the St. Paul, Minn.-based chain of lumberyards, has earned the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) chain-of-custody certification through the Rainforest Alliance’s SmartWood program. The 34-unit pro dealer, with locations in five upper Midwest states, received its certification at the end of August but made the announcement on Dec. 20.

Jon Wigen, the company’s lumber buyer, told HCN that the certification process took approximately 90 days for all of Lampert’s locations. The effort was well worth it, Wigen said.

“I’m amazed at the number of sales we’ve gotten since we got our certification number,” he said. Lampert’s salespeople can now bid on commercial projects seeking a LEED designation, and knowledge of green building materials is a selling point with many customers.

“It’s been a great calling card for us, [especially] with new builders we haven’t done business with before,” Wigen said.

Lampert Yards currently has FSC-certified wood products in stock at four locations, with the ability to transfer the materials to any of its lumberyards.

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